Birth is the tearing down and rebuilding of a woman. She is tested physically, mentally, and spiritually. Even seemingly beautiful empowering births leave battle scars. Most women are prepared (or think they are) for the physical trials of parturition. Few anticipate the emotional and spiritual demolition and reconstruction that commence during childbirth and are completed postpartum. The 4th trimester is a time for licking wounds and gaining footing in a new era of life. It is a seismic shift woman are not prepared for.
There are steps to postpartum healing. Women need to be informed of the work that needs done after the climax of birth. The illusion of a happily ever after leaves so many mothers floundering when confronted with seemingly taboo feelings of depression, anxiety, brokenness, or discontent. These feelings are not uncommon and are not a reflection of a woman’s ability to mother or the depth of her love for her baby.
Postpartum women need more education, more time, and more support. There are three realms of healing during the 4th trimester;
Neglecting any of the three can leave a woman feeling damaged by her birth experience or without sound footing as a mother. The focus of care needs to not be just be on the fundamentals of tending a new baby but teaching mothers self-care for the postpartum period and beyond.
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